Nasrallah: Iranian cash rebuilt Lebanon after war

Hizbullah leader emerges from hiding to plant tree near Beirut, says Ahmadinejad won’t throw rocks toward Israel

Nasrallah planting tree 311 AP (photo credit: AP)
Nasrallah planting tree 311 AP
(photo credit: AP)
Money that Hizbullah received from Iran helped rebuild Lebanese houses destroyed by Israel in 2006’s Second Lebanon War, according to Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
He spoke on Saturday ahead of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon.
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“Hizbullah does not trust Lebanese government bureaucracy, therefore the Iranians paid in cash,” Nasrallah said in a televised broadcast.
“The Iranian president is arriving as a guest of Lebanon, and he was invited by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman himself,” Nasrallah said.
“The recent reports that Ahmadinejad intended to visit the Lebanon-Israel border in order to throw stones across were ridiculous,” Nasrallah continued.
The US expressed concern to the Lebanese government over Ahmadinejad’s scheduled visit, US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
Crowley said that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with President Michel Suleiman last month, telling him that Iran, through Hizbullah, threatened Lebanon’s sovereignty.
Nasrallah said the Iranian leader would not go to the border and throw a stone into the Jewish state as had been widely reported in Lebanon.
He added that Ahmadinejad would visit the southern town of Bint Jbail, which saw heavy fighting between Hizbullah guerrillas and Israeli troops during their 34-day war in 2006.
Nasrallah’s comments come a day after a television station run by Hizbullah aired a rare spot showing him emerging from hiding to plant a tree.
Nasrallah has rarely been seen in public since his Shi’ite group battled Israel four year ago, fearing assassination. He gives news conferences via satellite link.
But on Friday, the black-turbaned Hizbullah chief was shown on Al-Manar TV, shovel in hand, planting and watering a small tree outside his home in the southern suburbs of Beirut that were bombed by Israel in 2006.
Nasrallah urged all Lebanese to plant a tree outside their homes as part of a Hizbullah campaign to plant 1 million trees in the country.